If you’re looking to spice up your weekday lunches or weekend BBQs, then this recipe is for you!

Bowtie pasta salad is a delicious way to get in your veggies, carbs, and protein all in one dish. The beauty of this recipe is that you can customize it to your liking, but I’m going to show you how to make it from scratch step-by-step. So, let’s get started!

Bowtie Pasta Salad

Packed with plenty of fresh veggies – and if you wish – lean proteins (like chicken or tofu), this dish is a great way to get the nutrients you need without sacrificing taste.

Whether you’re looking for a light lunch or a satisfying side to pair with your favorite main course, bowtie pasta salad is a versatile and delicious choice that can help you stay on track with your health and wellness goals.

JUST FOR FUN: When it comes to pasta shapes, there are many unique options to choose from. Bowtie, also known as farfalle, is a particularly beloved shape due to its fun and quirky appearance.

The history of bowtie pasta is somewhat of a mystery, though, with no clear inventor or origin story. Some believe it was simply modeled after the shape of a butterfly, while others suggest that it was created to honor the fashionista tradition of wearing bowties. Still others declare historically it was created to use up bits of leftover dough.

According to Barrilla, this pasta shape dates back to the 1500s, originating in the Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna part of Northern Italy. Farfalle, which means “butterfly” in Italian, are rectangular or oval pieces of pasta that are pinched in the middle.

Whatever the true story may be, one thing is for certain: we are grateful for whoever came up with this whimsical shape!

Let’s get cookin’

Step 1: Cook the Bowtie Pasta

First, boil a pot of water and add a pinch of salt.

Once the water is boiling, add the bowtie pasta and cook it for around 10-12 minutes or until it’s al dente. Make sure to stir the pasta occasionally.

Once it’s done, drain the water and rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Step 2: Prep the Veggies

While the pasta is cooking, prep your veggies.

You can use any veggies you like, but I recommend using halved cherry tomatoes, leafy greens like oak-leaf lettuce* and lollo rossa*.  You can include any other veggies you want. I often add cucumbers, red onions, black olives and/or bell peppers.

*Oak leaf lettuce is both green and sweet, or slightly bitter red, the frilled edges set the two varieties apart.Lollo rossa is a mild lettuce with curly, red-tipped leaves.

Rinse the veggies and chop them into bite-sized pieces. Once you’re done, set them aside.

Step 3: Make the Dressing

The dressing is what brings this pasta salad together.

In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

I also like to add basil and minced garlic to taste.

Keep whisking until everything is well combined.

Step 4: Mix Everything Together

Now it’s time to mix everything together. In a large bowl, add the cooked and cooled pasta, chopped veggies, and the dressing.

Mix everything together until the pasta and veggies are coated in the dressing.

Step 5: Refrigerate and Serve

Once everything is mixed together, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 1 hour. This will allow the flavors to meld together and the salad to chill.

When you’re ready to serve, give the pasta salad a quick stir and then dish it out into bowls.

Enjoy your delicious and healthy homemade bowtie pasta salad!

Bowtie Pasta Salad

Now that you know how to make bowtie pasta salad from scratch, you can create your own variations and add your favorite ingredients to make it even more delicious.

  • You can add in some cooked chicken, sausage, or tofu for a protein boost.
  • For an Italian twist, add some chopped basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

The possibilities are endless!

So go ahead and make this recipe your own!